Thursday, December 31, 2009

I wanted Princess Polly Pockets!

My husband and I were so very excited! Santa had come all the way to California to deliver exactly what my daughter had asked for...a big girl bike and Polly Pockets. All the adults were ready with their cameras as my daughter and I walked through the door to find her magical gifts. She walked straight up to them, around them and then burst into tears. I asked her what was wrong and she said, "I wanted the Princess Polly Pockets." Hmmm...we were all a bit mortified. Gradually cameras went away and the moment was lost. I said to her, "You need to be a bit more specific with Santa because you told him 'big girl bike and polly pockets' and that is what he brought you." She didn't let up for about 30 minutes.
My husband and I were really angry. And all we kept thinking is, "We are such bad parents...our kids are spoiled!!!" We almost packed up all her gifts and gave them away. Instead we sat her down and explained to her why her behavior was poor and what Christmas is all about. Giving and not receiving.
I had taken her with me to get little things for everyone in the family...just from she could try to comprehend the act of giving. Didn't work out great as she kept picking things out for herself. But, we drilled it into her head on Christmas day...whether she liked it or not. We needed her to understand, as best she could, that crying when opening up a gift is not cool.
She eventually turned it around and was ready to open up two gifts. The rest had to wait or may be given away. It all depended on her behavior. She was so sweet. She opened her gifts (both from Papa an Lola) and immediately handed out hugs and thank you's. I think she got the message. As a parent, that was one of the most difficult moments so far. I hope we made the right decision and I can't wait to show her the tape when she is 10 and beyond.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Saying goodbye to family.

I don't know if it is because I come from a divorced family and had to move back and forth between my mom and dad's house every 6 months when I was younger but I have a really hard time saying goodbye to my family. The great part about the holidays is seeing family and even anticipating all the know, the build up to all the fun. That is why, when it is over and I think of all of the fun that was had, it is really hard to hop in the car and drive away.

I was very lucky. I got to bring my entire son, daughter and hubby...out to California to my dad's house for the holidays. My brother and I also flew my mom in for a few days. It was everyone in my family, all together and I was in heaven. And I wasn't the only one...the kids were LOVING being around my niece and nephew who are 10 and 11 respectively. Watching the kids together was my favorite absolutely melts my heart to think about it.

My kids were at the center of my niece and nephew's world for a solid 10 days. They helped me so very much and never complained once about getting bit by my son or told on by my daughter. They smiled the whole time and were so very patient. I was super proud of them. Then it hit me...they are 10 and almost 6 years, one will be off to college. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

I think that is part of what made me so sad. I realized that these visits are so precious and that they aren't going to happen forever. This stage of life is so precious. As much as it is overwhelming at times with poopy diapers and tantrums, it is truly wonderful and precious. Add to that the fact that my dad, his girlfriend, my bro, sis-in-law, niece, nephew, my kids and hubby were all celebrating Christmas in the same room and then I turn into a waterworks!

I am emotional, I know that. But I am also sentimental and I love my family. I don't live 5 minutes from my fam, I live 10 hours. Everyone is busy with schedules and life. Weeks turn into months and months turns into years. I don't want that to happen. I want my kids to know their other cousins, aunt and uncle, papa and lola, grandma and grandpa. I cry when I say goodbye to my family because I had so much fun and because I will miss them. Then I hop into the car and think about when we can get together again. It takes a little while but as I begin to imagine our next visit, my smile reappears.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bringing the mess to someone else's house!

It is not easy traveling with two toddlers...but what makes it even more difficult is the mess we create while on the road. It is hard enough, managing the mess in our own house, but when you bring it to someone else's house, it is a whole new level of frustration.

We are at my dad's house for the holidays. He and his girlfriend are fantastic with the kids and are completely understanding with regards to the chaos and the mess. But, after a week, we are all starting to get a little overwhelmed. And, all the new toys and trinkets don't help. Sure, it gives them more to play with but it also gives them more to throw around and leave in wrong the kitchen floor.

At home, I sort of go through out the day and clean up only when they go down for their nap. They also have a designated "play room" which keeps the toys somewhat contained. On the road, papa and lola have a "playroom" but the kids don't really stay in there with their stuff. And there is one of the reasons for the over all MESS. See, I don't think it would bother us if all the mess was back in one room but it is leaking into the main adult room and that is starting to bug everyone.

Just this morning my dad said, "I can't keep up with the kids. I pick up their stuff and turn around 2 minutes later to find a new mess on the floor." It is crazy!! I feel so badly but I also know that the kids would love to be able to play with their tents and train sets and those won't fit in the playroom. It is such a catch 22...take um down and listen to them ask for them or keep them up and deal with more mess.

This leads me to the solution I have come up with. Open communication. If you can discuss this "messy" situation with your family, then you can relax a bit. In other words, ask them if the mess of the big items is bothering them. If it is, take it down and if it isn't then roll on as you were being mindful of picking up toys and stray items throughout the day.

It is funny cause my dad's girlfriend (of 20 years) just asked me..."are you doing your blog?" I said yes and explained to her the subject. She immediately smiled and said without hesitation, "But you are here and that is all that matters." Now that is comfort mess or not!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The 10 hour road trip gone GREAT!

Yes, the GREAT was not a typo. Believe me, I thought it was not going to be anywhere near the word but my kids surprise me every now and then. I am not sure how we lucked out. I don't know if it was luck or our stellar planning...hee hee...that brought us from Park City, UT to Granite Bay, CA in less than 9 1/2 hours.

Before the trip even started, I thought I was shooting myself in the foot cause I kept talking about our "plan". I would say, "If all goes according to plan..." And then I would knock on wood. So, here was our plan. Get everything ready the night before. I mean everything...bags packed, snack bag packed, dvd's stocked, house clean, gas tank full. The only things that were left for the morning were to pack the mini ice chest and cut up some fresh fruit. We also opted to have breakfast in the car as it never seems to be a quick meal and always produces such a mess.

So, when the kids got up, we immediately loaded them in the car and off we went. They ate waffles and we drank our coffee. We introduced several new movies which they both thought were pretty cool. One being "Home Alone" which was hilarious to hear and not see. My daughter was REALLY diggin that one.

The kids were amazing. We stopped for lunch at McD's and let the kids run around in the PlayPlace with their sleepers on. Hey, they wanted to. We were having so much fun watching them have fun that I quickly made the call to feed them their lunch in the car. So, we scarfed ours down and encouraged them to run and run. Before we left it was a quick trip to the bathroom for potty and hand washing and then off again!

About 2 hours later, both kids were sacked out and we were cruisin! We sailed like that for about 3 hours until my daughter got up and then we were back to movies and bit of singing. Honestly, where would we be without car dvd players?

Again, I am not going to sound too cocky cause we have to make this very trip back next week but I was super impressed with our road tripping skills. Other than a ting little meltdown from my daughter cause she was car sick on our way through Tahoe, everyone was happy and relaxed. (including the front 2) It was actually enjoyable and I got a glimpse of what it might be like to cruise the open road with a 4 and 6 year old. I might be crazy but it seems pretty fun. For now, I will just pray for a happy 9 1/2 hours back to Park City! Please!

Christmas Morning Donut Run!

Oh yes, I love Christmas traditions. Some families will remember the wonderful spread on Christmas Eve or the caroling their family did during the week before but as a true SANDERS I think of Christmas morning and one of my first thoughts is of donuts on Christmas morning.

My dad was the culprit. He would get up before all of he was a bigger kid than anyone on Christmas morning...and to kill time, he would go get donuts. Believe it or not, our local donut shop, Bill's Donuts, was always open and the donuts were always hot and fresh!

Don't get me wrong, I loved the gifts of the holidays...waking up to see all the presents and what Santa had brought me but I do LOVE my donuts. Back then, I was an old fashioned kinda girl but now I love maple bars. But, anything would do and my dad always seemed to get the perfect amount of everything. In fact, we seemed to enjoy them well into the afternoon. He always has such a smile on his face when he puts down that pink box.

And now that I think of it, I am not convinced it is the actual donut at all that I love so much. I think it is the fact that my dad is the one who started that tradition and that he finds such joy in delivering the special Christmas morning goodies to our tummies. After all, he was a dentist and he knows how bad they are for us...but he does it anyway because he knows that no matter what, you need to have fun in life...even if it is one donut at a time. Merry something yummy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cookies...just one more reason to love the holidays!

With the holidays comes about a billion calories. But let's be honest...can't we put this off until the new year?! No, but we can eat everything in moderation and exercise our butt off! That is why I have been getting up every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the crack of my ass to get to the gym! Yes, all in 5 degree weather!

But this blog is actually about cookies. And exercising is why I feel I can openly indulge in cookie feast. See, my girlfriend started this awesome tradition a few years ago. She took a break last year but brought it back this year to my delight! (and many others, i might add) It is called The Cookie Exchange. Here is how it works....

You invite a bunch of your girlfriends and tell them to bring 2 dozen cookies of their choice and a bottle of wine(of what they prefer to drink). My girlfriend then makes a killer soup and serves yummy bread. Everyone mingles, chats, nibbles, drinks vino and then samples the tasty cookies. When all is said and done, those who brought cookies, get to leave with cookies. Oh yeah, people must bring a tin to take carry their cookies home.

I love this party so much because I LOVE cookies. And I am making my favorites. I don't know what they are officially called but I calt the end, take a few home. (note, if you don't bring cookies, you don't bring any home!!) That is why I decided to make my absolute favorites. I don't even really know their official name but I am gonna call them peanut butter drops. You know, the ones where there is a hershey's kiss dropped in the middle! They are small and yummy and only seem to come out during the holidays (thank god!) And, I might add, they go perfectly with a tall glass of milk!

So here is to the holidays, friends, cookies and a bit of wine!!! Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 14, 2009

My love affair with Whole Foods!

Yes, it is true...I am in love... I have been in like for some time. In fact for over a decade. That is how long I have known of Whole Foods. See, I grew up in Northern California. I used to go to Berkeley all the time and then I eventually ended up at Stanford for college. I was pretty lucky but it has gotten even better and it has turned into love.

Before we had a Whole Foods in Park City, we had a Wild Oats. Wild Oats was decent but nothing compared to the genius of Whole Foods. I take one step into Whole Foods and I am all smiles. This place inspires me to cook and to be a better cook while I am at it. All of their choices and layouts are beautiful and brilliant.

I love that the fresh flowers are right next to the fresh produce. Everything is perfectly presented but not overwhelming. And the flowers are always very interesting and different. Not your everyday rose bouquet! Hello sunflowers and rosemary trees made to look like mini Christmas trees.

When I get to the meat and fish section, that is when I am truly inspired to cook. I love every bit of it. I feel like I could stand there, staring at how perfect the chicken breasts look or how flawless the rib-eye is displayed. I am that person that is always asking the workers for recipes and you know what...they give them to me...and they are great!

Their deli is superb with so many awesome selections. I have so many favorites...where do I begin. First of all, their sushi is great and their vegetable dumplings are wonderful. Their soups are rockin...especially ham and split pea and chicken artichoke. Their full dinner selections are clever and different and so yummy. We get a lot of their salads during the summer when we are heading up to outdoor concerts.

But their bakery is what really surprised me! I was in there one day before Thanksgiving and they had a taster of their pumpkin pie...forget about it. It was amazing. So much so that I ditched the idea of making one from scratch and I ordered my Thanksgiving pies from Whole Foods. Healthy and excellent!

Lastly, my kids love the store...for one reason and one reason only. The mini shopping carts. All the other stores, I need to immediately go to the bakery to get them a cookie if I want a pleasant shopping experience but at Whole Foods, they grab the carts and I am traffic director. I throw all our groceries into their carts and they think it is the coolest thing ever. Easy trouble free shopping makes for a happy mommy!
Whole Foods, thank you and I love ya!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hotdogs are still the biggest hit at a 2 year olds birthday party!

I like to believe that you can actually get a somewhat "good for you" hot dog at the grocery store. I get the kind that says, "No nitrates or preservatives." And, you know what, I believe it. And my kids LOVE them.

My girlfriend came over the other day for a little play date and I made the kiddos lunch. I pulled out the bag of hot dogs and asked if her kids would like one. She replied with an enthusiastic YES!!! But then followed it up with, "But my husband hates them...all the chemicals." I read her the ingredients and we quickly decided that they were not THAT bad.

Not that bad means that compared to a lot of other crap we feed our kids, they are decent. Like, compared to those silly gummies that my kids are addicted to. Honestly, I am going to test them to see if they are laced with crack! Besides the fact that they aren't that bad for you, I used to eat hot dogs all the time.

So, that leads me to the fact that we have to remember that we grew up eating a ton of this stuff and all-in-all, we are doing just fine. For instance, I grew up drinking tons of milk. Just fine. I grew up eating candy. Just fine. I grew up chewing gum. Just fine. The list goes on and on. The 2 things we were not allowed to eat (or at least that my parents didn't provide for us) were soda pop and sugar cereals. My dad was a dentist and those two things meant one thing...CAVITIY!

But, let's get back to my friend and our play date... After learning that the hot dogs I was serving weren't soo bad, she declared to me, "I am going to serve these at my son's 2nd Birthday party!" And tonight, the kids noshed on them and loved every morsel. Kids and hot dogs. It is a winning combination!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Even after endless Christmas is possible to be hot and sexy!

Yes, it is true. We can still be sexy...even if our bod doesn't look the same as it did before we had kids and before our bellies were the size of Texas. (Doesn't that amaze you that your stomach can get that big...I mean really!) Anyway, it is possible even if your belly isn't where you want it to be, to look sexy!

I believe looking sexy is all about how you carry yourself. I had a guy friend tell me this one day. He said, you could weigh 200 lbs. and if you walk into a room with the confidence and a little shake in your hips, you can get the sexy going. I fully believe this. We have all seen it before. Those girls who aren't trying too hard but are walking in heels like they have done it their whole lives and who take their time with each swish of the hip. Damn I wish I could do that.

I think we all have a bit of that in us and it is time to let it shine this holiday season. It is time for mom's to look, feel and show their sexiness. We all need to grab the outfit that we feel the sexiest in and be one with the mood. Once we put it on, we need to KNOW that we are sexy and use that confidence all night long.

To me, sexy is half a feeling and half a showing. No part of sexy is really what you are wearing. (ok, maybe some of it is) But truly if we love what we are wearing, then we are more likely to look sexy because we are more confident. (getting off on the wrong tangent.) What I am saying is, we don't have to go out and buy a new holiday outfit...simply put on what is REAL and our favorite from our closet.

Once you have found your sexy outfit, then take a moment in the mirror and do your hair and make-up to where you feel gorgeous. Remember, you need to feel it. What will it take?? Mascara?? Blush?? Earrings?? Hair up or hair down?? Give it a few minutes of thought and have fun with it. Once complete, walk out of your room with an extra swish in your step and your head held high. "Shake your money maker", as they say!

Your husband, boyfriend, significant other will love it! Believe me...I know my hubby and one of the things that is always on his Christmas list is sex. Let's give them a little sexy first!! Happy Sexy Holidays to all the moms out there!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Counting my blessings!

I am not going to go into any kind of detail as to why I am counting my blessings. Let's just say that I got some news today that made me realize how lucky I am. There are days when I have stopped and counted my blessings, but this is a big one and I want to share them with you.

I met my husband on a blind date. We very well could have been set up with other people but we weren't. We were switched at the last minute and paired up by a mutual friend. I had the time of my life. I laughed so damn hard on that date and had never felt so loved. I count my blessings for that blind date. Thank goodness for our friend Lowell and his wife Becky.

We got pregnant right away. I thought for sure it was going to take me awhile cause I was never normal being an athlete all my life but I was wrong. I was very surprised when I took my first pregnancy test. I thought if I was pregnant the second line was supposed to be super bright. Mine was very, very faint. I wasn't convinced until I drove into town(we were in New Zealand) and got 3 more. All the same. Baby on the way...I count my blessings.

Our baby girl and our baby boy are healthy and happy. All in all they seem to be growing and learning and loving everyone around them. Their "hello mommy" and their "thank you mama" makes me melt every single day. I don't know what I would be without them as they have added so much to my life. I count my blessings.

No matter what happens, I know it has been said 1,000,000 times but nothing is as important as your families health and happiness. If you have those 2 things, you are the richest family in the world and you should count your blessings. Tonight, I am and I am so thankful!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tina really do ROCK!

Ok, I know she has won all the awards imaginable and everyone already knows her but I am just going to tell the world...or the blogging much I LOVE Tina Fey. I am so very glad that she is in my life. Especially since Jerry Seinfeld is only rerunning in my life now.

My hubby and I have about 5 shows that we absolutely love. Lost, Californication, Weeds, The Office, Football and 30 Rock!! (ok, that is 6) We laugh really hard at the Office but I laugh differently during 30 Rock. I laugh because it is funny and even harder cause I look at Tina Fey and I know it came from her brain. I love the fact that there are people like her in this world. Thank God!

The show is so damn clever and so quick. We watch it on DVR so that we can rewind it and catch the funny stuff a second time cause it happens so fast. All of the characters are just perfect...cause the writing so good.

I have loved Tina Fey since SNL. I was also just super stoked that in the world of late night television the funniest person was a woman. She was the first head writer on SNL. (that has to make her the funniest?!) You can tell that she has her funny shit together also. She is confident and quirky and perfectly imperfect (that is my favorite saying right now) And, she is a mom!!! Where does she find the time.

I love that she made fun of the fact that she was wearing a Snuggie and that she farted on the show. I love the outfits she puts together and that in one second she is self deprecating and the next second she is kick ass. She is a funny woman that our girls can look up to. And if nothing else, I will forever be indebted to her for making me laugh my head off every week!! Thank you Tina!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Little helpers in the kitchen.

My daughter absolutely loves to "help" in the kitchen. I put the word help in quotes because often times it requires more effort and time but most often it is absolutely worth it. I hope you know what I mean. For example, sometimes, I am trying to make a quick dinner because my son is starving and grumpy and my daughter is pulling at my leg begging to help me cook. At that moment, it is really hard for me to stop and let her help but I try to MAKE the time to bake or cook things with her.

Yesterday, we all set out to make cookies. A 3 1/2 year old, a 22 month old and a 37 year old all in the kitchen making chocolate chip cookies from a bag. (I have written about them...they are fab). It was pretty comical. My daughter could actually read the directions because there were only 2 ingredients besides the bag contents and each ingredient had a picture next to it. Once mixed together, my son would spoon a huge glob-full and put it on the cookie sheet. Hilarious. They actually turned out great and we all loved them.

Today, my daughter really wanted to make banana bread. I made sure I had all the ingredients and waited until my son was down for his nap. We then turned it into the "Mommy Cooking School". She was so very excited and felt extremely special. I let her do most everything except breaking the egg (she had tried that last night and it didn't go very well). She would stir until she couldn't do it anymore and then I took over. It was super pleasant and fun...and the reason why it wasn't tense is because I had enough time to REALLY let her do it herself.

I believe there is so much for kids to learn in the kitchen. Patience, following directions, calculations and math...and most importantly, for my 3 year old LISTENING! If she doesn't listen, the project will get ruined. And there is so much for parents to learn from cooking with our kids in the kitchen, PATIENCE, listening and letting our kids try something that could potentially be very messy. Let them go for it and have fun! The reward of the experience is totally worth it! Our banana bread was wonderful and as my daughter said, "It was the best ever!"...words from the chef herself!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Decide to have more FUN every single day!

I feel like the fun decision is made before we even get out bed. You can kinda tell if the day is gonna be a good one or not. Every now and then the unexpected happens, your attitude changes and the day ends up being better than once thought. Most times, however, we know it before we are taking our first pee.

I had a bit of a revelation yesterday. I reminded myself that life is too short to be too serious or structured. Don't get me wrong, I am able to write this blog cause my kids nap but I think every day, you can carve out a little unexpected fun for your kids, for your family, for your relationship/marriage and for YOU! I realized this and made a mental pack with myself(does that even make sense) to have more fun in my days on this pick a part of everyday and make a different decision, you know, the fun one, instead of the serious one.

Last night, as we were coming home from my friends house, I asked the kids if my plan was ok. I said, "How about if you guys take a bath, put on your PJ's and then we all snuggle up in my bed and watch a movie?" It was about 8pm when I made this suggestion, which is about 15 past their bedtime. We all got a little giddy when I said this...we were so excited. Although my 22 month old son had no clue why...he just joined in cause it looked cool. But, I think he felt it. And that is part of my point.

I think that positive and happy feeling can completely change a family dynamic. It has been a tough year for a lot of people. Many families have split up or are fighting more than normal. I understand that we have all been stressed and for very good reason, but at some point we have to stop and enjoy life or it is gonna pass us right on by. My husband and I have decided to just be downright more positive. To take time to do fun things and make each other smile. To be spontaneous and goofy whenever possible. The little moments like this are what really matter and count.

Tonight, my hubby is out of town and has been for about a week. I got a babysitter and am heading to the movies cause it will make me happy. My kids are excited about the sitter that is coming and they think it is a treat. I don't know what tomorrow holds but with the snow falling outside, there are tons of FUN options and I know we will pick a good one. I hope you do the same!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Break a leg...or something like that!

So, my girlfriend calls me yesterday and tells me that a big Olympic sponsor is shooting a commercial in Park City and they are looking for actors. One of the actors needs to be a sportscaster...hmm...could be interesting. The catch is that I would not be playing myself, I would actually be a "playing" a sportscaster...acting the part! There was also a "mom" role but I wasn't convinced I could play the role of an 18 year old...I mean, come on...:)

I got the email last night which said I could come in whenever I wanted between 10am and 6pm. I would be auditioning for both the mom and the sportscaster. (I am cracking up right now just thinking about this.) The email also gave specific instructions on how to dress and props you could bring. I was supposed to wear red, white and blue but not go overboard with USA. I took in a sign that said, "GO USA" however. I also wore an old credential...cause everyone is credentialed at the Games.

Anyway, I wasn't sure if I should audition and then at the 11th hour, I called my friend, asked her if she could watch the kids and ran to the audition which was about 7 minutes away. I checked in, they asked me for a head shot (which I didn't have), they asked me what time my appointment was(I didn't have one) and they asked me to fill out my information. I then sat down in my chair representing auditioner number 12! The casting woman came out and said.."Next"...and I followed her into her room. I made a bit of small talk and then held my number and name up to my chin and said my name and answered a few questions. I was smiling the entire time...cause I couldn't believe I was doing this. From parking my car, to finishing my audition, 30 minutes had passed. I had officially completed my first acting audition. It was awesome...not because I did a great job but because I did something that was a bit scary and new and I survived. I encourage everyone out there to challenge yourself in some new, fun or scary area in the near future! It totally rocks. (btw..there is no chance in hell I a getting either of the parts. but it was fun and worth it!)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The family photo.

I, like many other moms out there, had the desire to get the perfect candid family picture this holiday season. I tried my best to plan it and make it perfect. In the end, it wasn't planned, and it was perfectly imperfect.

I first thought of getting a picture of all the grandkids for Erik's parents. I thought that Erik's mom would love that. We tried and that was not easy. 4 kids ages 8, 4, 3 and 22 months. That is a pretty tough crew to corral and to keep happy. We tried with Lollipops and got a few but the real success came a few days later.

My friend, Kellie Hatcher, agreed to meet us at the park right after nap time to try and capture a few with just our kids and then possibly Erik and myself. I hadn't showered in a few days(TMI) and Erik had no idea we were going to be a part of the act. We were both wearing hats, Skye was wearing a ballet outfit and very, very reluctantly decided to put on her jeans and Spider had just woken up from his nap. He was wearing sweats. I am telling you all of this because we did not prepare at all. Not a bit. I literally rushed them out the door and into the last 15 minutes of sunlight to snap a few pictures. The kids were fantastic. They were having fun, despite the chilly weather (hello, it is Park City in Nov!)

What we got back were some absolutely wonderful shots. They were candid and real and they showed the life and happiness of our kids and our family. I am so glad we did it and Kellie did and amazing job. The perfect part of these pictures is that we aren't perfect. I didn't comb anyone's hair, I didn't wipe off anyone's face. I didn't make anyone wear anything special. We were all outside, having fun and it showed. I am writing this to encourage every family to be their true selves in their family photos and to encourage moms not to stress about getting everyone "ready". Like most everything in life, if you try too hard, it's never gonna turn out the way you want it. Just let it happen and I bet you will be pleasantly surprised!

Thank you Kellie Hatcher Photography!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Christmas Card! is that time of year again. I know what you are thinking. Feels like it was just yesterday, huh?! Well, it was just about 365 days ago...time has flown by and you know what they say, "Time flies when you are having fun or when you have 2 toddlers."

It is almost Christmas, which is what I celebrate. The holidays are upon us and so are the Christmas cards. I must admit, I love getting everyone's cards. I love the colors, the choices and the pictures most of all. I read every word, even the letter versions. I love getting the updates on all of our friends and family and family friends. And you know what, I keep them all as well. I get a kick out of the same shutterfly prints from several diff families or the vacation photos. I love it cause I know, for most families it takes time and energy.

I know this because I plan on doing mine tonight. I plan on using Kodak and I love them. Whatever you use, it takes a little effort and some planning. See, you have to figure out if you want just one picture, or if you want several. The more pictures you use, often times the more expensive the card. There is also a choice of greetings or sayings. There are fun versions or more serious. And, how do you sign it...with the family last name or everyone's first names. Lots of choices for such little piece of paper.

I love the super nice Holiday cards, but I can't stand spending too much. It feels like such a waste...not a waste of anything except money. How much should a family spend on the card? The funny thing is that I know the cards I love receiving and they are the more expensive ones...but I feel guilty actually biting the bullet and ordering them. This year might be different. I just might go for it.

But either way, I hope everyone knows that it doesn't matter the card stock or the number of photos you decide upon, what matters is that the card is being sent out of love from my family to yours. And I hope you enjoy ours as much as I enjoy yours. Happy Happy Holidays!